Compassion and Pragmatism

Compassion and Pragmatism

written by: Dr. Finbarr Lismore
by: Dr. Finbarr Lismore

I live on a small barrier island off the coast of Long Island, about 30 miles east of New York City. On the morning of 9-11, after seeing on TV a plane hit the first tower, I walked about five blocks north to a polling station, because it was Election Day. I was turned away, told that the elections had been postponed, for the first time in anyone's memory. As I came out of the school which was the site of the voting I saw perhaps fifty people about a block away, standing at the far north shore of our little island. Walking toward them, and asking, What's up? they pointed across the water toward the City and told me they had just seen the second tower fall. I too looked across the channel, toward the City, and saw great plumes of smoke where the Twin Towers had been visible just an hour before. For days a great cloud of smoke remained in the sky, dissipating. That evening there was a battleship off the coast off the south shore of our tiny island, ready to protect the Port of New York City, if necessary. Those are some of the physical impressions which I carry with me. I also remember all the pain and suffering involved in speaking with friends, neighbors, loved ones as we spoke of friends, neighbors, and loved one we lost that day. What I think I have learned in the past fifteen years is that the grieving and the sorrow continue and will always be there. I think I have also learned that while we all have the ability to develop a sense of "friend" and "enemy," we must also learn to discern those among us, across the the world who are both compassionate, at least minimally able to think about and care about fellow human beings; and to be pragmatic and to manifest a willingness to work together with others to address our common global problems: environmental degradation; starvation; poverty; a sense of public safety and a living economy, across our planet; etc. Namaste; God bless us all.

written by: Dr. Finbarr Lismore

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